PERM requirements for EB2 visas are very specific, and because EB2 petitions take years less time to process than EB3 visas, candidates are tempted to try to make their credentials fit into EB2 status even if they do not fit, or they are not sure whether or not they fit. Do not do this. This is a waste of your time. Do not make the mistake of filing your EB2 petition, or your client or employee’s petition without being entirely sure that the education meets PERM requirements for EB2 classification.
Sometimes, your education, or your employee or client’s education simply will not work for EB2. Sometimes it will. In many cases, the education will work when submitted with a detailed credential evaluation citing federal case law, CIS precedent decisions, and international trade agreements.
One common problem EB2 beneficiaries run into is that the education must be an exact match for their job title. In the past, CIS has allowed candidates with degrees in fields related to their job to have their visas approved, but educational standards have tightened. This means if you, or your employee or client has a degree in a related field, you need to take their education and work experience to a credential evaluator to fill in the missing gaps between your client’s education and job.
However, this leads into another common problem EB2 candidates face: the bachelor’s degree must be a SINGLE SOURCE. EB2 candidates must hold a US Master’s degree or its equivalent or higher to meet educational standards on the PERM. If your client has a degree from outside of the United States – particularly if you, or your employee or client holds a three-year bachelor’s degree – the bachelor’s degree equivalency cannot be met for this particular visa by combining education from different institutions, or from combining education plus work experience. However, CIS does accept a work experience conversion of ONLY years of work experience in the field into enough years of college credit to meet CIS requirements for bachelor’s degree equivalency.
Two more common problems EB2 beneficiaries face when it comes to having the wrong education is due to the complex nature of translation and credential evaluation across educational system structure that vary between countries.
PERM requirements for EB2 visas are very specific, and because EB2 petitions take years less time to process than EB3 visas, candidates are tempted to try to make their credentials fit into EB2 status even if they do not fit. It’s not uncommon for a beneficiary to claim that their high school diploma is a college degree, either on purpose or by mistake. False translations are common amongst beneficiaries with degrees and certificates from countries outside of the United States because when words are translated into English, the educational value does not translate over along with it. Translating your client’s educational documents into English is not enough, even if a translation agency offers credential evaluation services. Credential evaluation is a highly specialized service requiring advanced knowledge of international education, federal case law, international trade agreements, and CIS trends.
Many degrees exist in other countries that do not exist in the United States, and many degrees that do not call themselves degrees actually have post-secondary educational value while others do not. For example, the Indian Chartered Accountancy certificate is the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting, but the Canadian Chartered Accountancy Certificate is not. The way that this is evidenced is by functional equivalency – by documenting what either degree allows the candidate to do. Taking exams or being accepted for admission into Master’s degree or Ph.D. programs that require postsecondary education that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree is a function of a degree that can get your client’s visa approved if you can clearly show that this is the case.
Don’t make the mistake of filing your client’s EB2 petition before you are both absolutely sure his or her education will work for this visa. Take your client’s educational documents to a credential evaluator with extensive experience working with EB2 cases, RFEs, Denials, NOIDs, and difficult cases because this kind of evaluator understands what will work, what will not work, and what will require a detailed evaluation that cites very specific evidence, sources, and documentation to work.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.